The Most Radical Reaction to Ebola is Compassion

Originally posted on Dr. Scott Morris:

Over the weekend, my wife, Mary, told me that she intends to get a flu shot this year (which she never does) because she believes it will prevent her from contracting Ebola.

I think she is only partially kidding.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now that a nurse in Dallas has contracted Ebola from the patient who died there last week. It was the lead story in my local paper, and I’m guessing that it was on the front page of your go-to news source as well. We can’t look away from disaster.

Or, in this case, perceived disaster.

Ebola is indeed a terrible disease, but I’m convinced that it does not warrant the hysteria it has created in the United States.

Ebola has been linked to Liberia, and anyone from that country is now considered a potential carrier of the disease. Until recently, few Americans could find Liberia on…

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The Butterfly Rebellion

Invisible Mikey:

I’m fascinated by revolutions, new idea movements, paradigm shifts and innovative attempts to alter the course of history.

Originally posted on :

soar-alba2

Soar Alba

By Robin McAlpine

The lairds came to warn us villagers to do as we were told. Then the lords came to warn us villagers to do as we were told. But we were in the fields building a rebellion.

We have now seen, on shaky mobile phone footage, the moment the British Empire finally ended. It ended with two guys on a rickshaw chasing 100 Labour MPs up Buchannan Street playing the Imperial March from Star Wars and informing bemused shoppers that their Imperial Masters Had Arrived. These imperial ‘masters’ have no guns. They rule through deference. Without it they look exactly like what they are; overpaid middle management on a team building away day. (“OK, to get the day started, an icebreaker. Let’s all try and walk up a normal street like we are normal people. No team, not like that. Like NORMAL people.”)

The Daily…

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38th Wooden Boat Festival

 (You can click on the photos to see bigger versions!)

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NY Mag: Read a Powerful Letter About Michael Brown and Ferguson

Invisible Mikey:

Many are writing about the larger issues behind this tragedy. This letter proposes thoughtful ways to improve the future.

Originally posted on Sociologists for Justice:

It’s no surprise that sociologists, perhaps the group of researchers most dedicated to understanding issues of race and inequality, have strong feelings about the death of Michael Brown and the subsequent violence in Ferguson, Missouri. A letter just released by Sociologists for Justice  has been signed by more than 500 of them (and counting), and it’s worth a read, in part because it contains some practical suggestions for how to prevent these sorts of tragedies from occurring in the future.

Full article on our statement: http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2014/08/read-a-powerful-letter-about-ferguson.html

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Depression, suicide, and hope

Invisible Mikey:

This person found a way of viewing today’s sad news through the hopeful eyes of the character and show Doctor WHO.

Originally posted on whoviantheology:

Robin Williams was found dead on August 11th, 2014 and initial reports are speculating that it was a suicide.  No, I was not a hardcore Robin Williams fan though I have seen some of his movies. I also am not one to report on celebrity deaths beyond sharing an article or two on my personal facebook page. But when it comes to suicide, I always pause a bit. I’ve been honest with my struggles with depression and suicidal thoughts, even though there continues to be a stigma attached to mental illness. (Depression, touted as a treatable disease, is often dismissed as not serious or as a pity party. Treatable does not mean curable and many people, including me, battle depression on a daily basis with the help of medication, a therapist, and the support of friends, families, and colleagues.)

When I first started this blog, I was in the midst…

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Goodbye, Puppy Boy

Finn in grass

Next week our latest service dog trainee Finnegan will be returned for his final phase of intensive instructions. We will be finishing up the socialization of another dog for about five months. This puppy was raised with a very different regimen than Spice, our guide dog for the blind trainee. Spice, the yellow Lab, was strong and steady, with muscles like a gladiator. She’s been navigating for her new owner over a year now, and they are both doing extremely well. Having Spice made it possible for Jeremy to go to college, to fulfill his ambition of becoming a music professor.

Finn big smile

Finnegan is strong too, but he’s a bundle of potential energy, like a coiled spring. He’s highly reactive, curious about any kind of novel stimulus, and whip-smart. Finn was originally considered to become a mobility assistance dog for a wounded veteran, but he didn’t grow big enough for that job. Now he’s going to be trained to be a therapeutic companion for a young autistic boy.

soft curly

I can see how much better an alternative this will be for the dog and the boy. Finnegan has an expressive face and a wide array of verbalizations. It can help model correct behavioral responses for an autistic child. Though this pup is cheerful by default, you can tell right away if he isn’t. For the most part, the only thing that gives him the blues is not getting a new challenge every day. Autism provides new challenges. Finnegan is hypoallergenic, and his soft, curly coat makes petting him more inviting for a hypersensitive child. Having him will be a social advantage for the boy, because others want to approach if you have a cute dog.  It can also make walking easier.

Finn loves to solve puzzles to get food, play with any toy that makes noise, and he will retrieve anything you care to throw. It took him a few months to understand our old lady cat is NOT a toy that makes noise, and that she’s not interested in playing tag, even though she will greet him nose-to-nose. He has taken that lesson (go gently with little beings) and applied it to infants and toddlers, with hardly any encouragement from us. He accepts kisses, hugs and petting from small children very well, and doesn’t jump on them.

Gentle Leader

Ever since we took him to Seattle and gave him a successful big city experience, Finn has been more confident, calmer and easier to work with. His biggest challenge is a tendency to pull ahead if he gets excited, but using a “gentle leader”, which fits over his nose, prevents this behavior. If you put a kibble inside your hand, he stays glued to your hip, matching your speed even without a leash. He relieves easily on grass, gravel or dirt using the command “hurry”. In the year we’ve been raising him, he never once had an accident inside the house. Don’t you wish your child was that easy to toilet train?

Lab and WheatonLongshot Mutt StrutMary at Table

Last week’s big activity was a visit to the local Rotary Club’s “Mutt Strut”. It’s an annual fundraiser to support their charitable projects, with products, lectures and assorted activities available for dogs and owners. There are many breeds I have no direct experience with, and I want to keep learning. They offered a long walk and informal contests including “cutest dog”, “most obedient” and “most unusual trick”.

Dogs greetingFinn watching

The Rotarians provided water in buckets, and policed the area keeping the encounters positive and well controlled. Though dozens of dogs were present, I heard very little in the way of distressed or confrontational barking. Finnegan was there to practice self-control, and he enjoyed observing the contests. We made sure he had as many experiences with small children as possible.

Hairy and AlanGrand Marshall Hairy Putter, and his dad, Alan Ahtow.

(http://hairysreviews.com/)

I’ve become attuned to a different balance in the four years since we moved from El Lay, vortex of cinematic fabulosity, to this picturesque Victorian seaport of 9,000. Where we used to live, animals (aside from humans) were perceived as lesser beings, as property, or as a food source. But deer roam the streets and yards here, eagles swoop above the trees, and songbirds, squirrels and rabbits share our grounds. In this town, there is less of a hard boundary between domesticated animals, wild animals, and people. And residents are advocating to make more places pet-friendly. It comes from a motivation to live harmoniously in nature, instead of competing and trying to control it.

Seeing the different dogs and owners made me remember why we raise these dogs. It’s part of our “fix what you can” philosophy. I can’t solve the wars of the world, or make politics more civil. I can’t control humankind wasting Earth’s bounty, or find a vaccine for Ebola. But I can take good radiographs, making it easier for the doctors to diagnose and treat. And Mary and I can help train the right kind of dog to assist others in need.  Our next pup in training will be a little Havanese, like this one.

Javanese

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Happy Interdependence Day!

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